Friday, August 26, 2016

For Cellists- What You Play On Matters

By Andy Fein, Luthier & Owner, Fein Violins, Ltd.

Have you ever attended a concert to hear a great cellist and wondered, "What are they playing on?" No, not the instrument, but the floor, platform, or podium beneath them. What a cellist plays on can make a huge difference in how the cello sounds. It's more than just finding a nice spot to jab your endpin.

Cellist Sol Gobetta on a podium higher than the conductor's

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stradivarius. 10 Fun Facts About His Life & Work

By Andy Fein, Luthier, Fein Violins, Ltd.

Stradivarius. So much of my life is wrapped around learning what he did, how he did it, and maybe even why he did it. Sometimes when I'm working on an instrument, I feel like I'm having a conversation with Stradivarius. Partly with words and partly with the way I work a piece of wood for a violin. Here are some things you may or may not know about him.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Stradivarius in his Nineties- Great Violins in His Last Years

One of the amazing things about Antonius Stradivarius is the longevity of his working life.

Born in 1644, Stradivarius' earliest instruments date from about 1670, at age 26. By age 26, Stradivarius was already a well trained luthier with finely honed skills. He kept working and making great instruments until he was 93.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Strad, a Mobster, and a Priest

By Andy Fein, Martha McDermott and Miranda Crawford

Recently, I read a news story about a former priest pleading guilty to helping his mobster friend find a supposed Stradivarius hidden inside a wall of a home in Wisconsin. My inner ears perked up! What could be a better story? The Mafia, a supposed Stradivarius hidden inside a wall, a corrupt priest, a few hundred thousand dollars (in cash, of course), a bunch of loose diamonds, FBI raids, and a heartfelt confession. Sounds too good to be true. But it is!
Frank Calalbrese, Sr.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Watch Out! The Natural Hazards of Stringed Instrument Playing

By Andy Fein, Martha McDermott, and Miranda Crawford

Recently, a high school orchestra student had a very unfortunate mishap. A piece of metal from the tailpiece of his violin popped off and hit him in the eye. The accident caused fairly extensive damage to his eye. Hopefully, the damage will not be permanent and his sight will be restored. But it made us realize that not everyone knows that your violin, viola, or cello is not bomb proof. They need maintenance! Maintenance to ensure the best sound and playability, and sometimes just for basic safety.
Avoid this! Change your strings & check your instrument often

I have not seen the actual instrument, so I'm going to speculate that the piece of metal was actually the metal ball from a ball end string.

A fully intact ball end E string

So, here's a list of some things you should regularly do to ensure the health of your instrument. And you!